SCI COVID-19 Information

SCI has developed an activity area plan for successfully restarting operations and welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus during the fall 2020 semester. The careful planning effort addresses public health concerns and different University operational postures for the term.

To stay up-to-date with the University of Pittsburgh's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit coronavirus.pitt.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ below covers a variety of topics relevant to SCI students. Please review the material and direct any questions unanswered to the appropriate contact found below.

Ongoing Updates

Where should I go for general health updates and ongoing University alerts?
Please access Pitt’s Coronavirus Site. At this site you will find guidance on all aspects of mitigating and responding to Coronavirus risks – from defining Flex @ Pitt and the University’s posture to returning to campus and buildings and spaces on campus.

I am an undergrad with questions about living in a dorm on campus. Who should I talk to for answers?
You should review this housing FAQ from Panther Central and any unanswered questions can be directed to them at panthercentral@pitt.edu.

I am a new SCI international graduate student. When can I do my official document verification?
You will be able to schedule an individual meeting to do this with a member of the SCI Academic Records Team, but these meetings will be postponed until we are able to fully return to campus. Until then, this will remain “unchecked” on your to do lists in PeopleSoft. However, do not worry, as this is not a problem under the circumstances!  We will notify you of the process for scheduling a document verification appointment when we are able to in the future.

Volunteering and Work

As a student, are hourly (“wage payroll”) positions available?
Yes. However, individual hourly work positions may be impacted differently, with some now fully remote, others remote or on-campus depending on the University posture and building access. You can view and apply for student hourly pay jobs at Pitt here: https://www.join.pitt.edu/find-positions.

Can I participate in a for-credit work experience this term (internship, practicum, field experience)?
If the academic policies of your program and your work authorization status allows it, then yes. However, individual internships may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult your internship course instructor to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.

I am an undergraduate on a Co-op rotation (or with one coming up this spring or summer). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult the Co-op Office to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the Co-op Office.

I am a graduate student on a Co-op rotation (or with one coming up this spring or summer). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems or questions arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.

I am an MLIS student who was placed in the Pitt Partners Placement. Can I still complete it if we are in remote status?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these placement need to be canceled or changed. However, individual placements may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact Elizabeth Mahoney, Associate Chair of the Information, Culture, and Data Stewardship Department.

I am a graduate student with an assistantship (Teaching Assistantship, Research Assistantship, Fellowship, etc.). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual assistantships may be impacted differently. Please consult with your course instructors (if a teaching assistant) and/or your research project PIs (if a research assistantship or fellowship) to obtain instructions on how to continue to perform your teaching and/or research duties. Should any additional problems arise, please contact your academic advisor, PhD program chair, or department/program chair as needed. The faculty directory provides contact information for all SCI and SCI-affiliated faculty.

Will I be able to volunteer through Pitt this term (with a nonprofit, in the community, etc.)?
If this is through Pitt and our School, most likely your activity will either be a PittServes placement or a community engagement commitment in the Hill District or Homewood. SCI is working with these entities to identify remote opportunities this term. A member of SCI’s Experiential Learning team will be sharing updates with all SCI students on these opportunities if and as they become available. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Alka Singh, the Director of Experiential Learning in SCI, with any immediate questions or concerns.

Will I still be able to get assistance from the University's Career Services?
Pitt's Career Center will continue to provide uninterrupted, virtual service.  Staff will continue to be available via email, phone and Skype appointments. Staff are working remotely during normal business hours of 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Please visit the Career Services site for details.

Academics

How do I elect into the S/NC grading basis for a course this term?
The special process to retroactively apply S/NC grades that was in place for the Spring 2020 is not continuing beyond that term. Students are now following established S/NC policies that apply to undergraduate students and graduate students – this includes a limited deadline for updating a course to S/NC as well as standard rules on if an how an S/NC course can be counted towards the fulfillment of requirements.

What is Zoom bombing and how can I avoid it?
This occurs when someone “crashes” your Zoom meeting, shares their screen, and presents inappropriate/offensive materials. This has the potential to disrupt any meetings you have, including those that are part of your studies. Zoom has put together some guidelines to help prevent this from happening.

What is Flex @ Pitt?
Flex@Pitt is an instructional model being used throughout Pitt to ensure that the classes offered during the COVID-19 pandemic are responsive to the needs of individual students and instructors, and can adapt to changes in the University’s operational posture. In broad strokes, the operational posture dictates when it is possible to hold in-person classes. The Flex @ Pitt model complements this by ensuring that even when in-person classes are possible, all classes provide engaging remote options for participation to accommodate individuals whose personal situations prevent them from being in the classroom.

In other words, Flex @ Pitt maximizes the in-person educational experience whenever it is safe to do so, while still allowing students and faculty to engage in whatever manner they deem comfortable. Classes will be taught in a manner that provides an excellent educational experience regardless of whether the student attends in person, remotely, synchronously or asynchronously.

What do I need to do to opt into Flex @ Pitt?
Nothing! All classes being offered with an in-person component will operate under the Flex @ Pitt model to provide you with the greatest flexibility in how you participate.

You can simply choose when and if you take advantage of in-person classroom experiences based upon your personal circumstances (this applies to students, TAs, UTAs, and instructors).

Will all classes offer an in-person option?
The vast majority of our classes will have in-person opportunities when possible. However, some recitations and large enrollment classes are fully remote.

Do I need to be on-campus to take classes this fall?
Within SCI, all courses will be possible to participate in via remote engagement, and do not require physical presence on campus.

How will my classes implement the Flex @ Pitt model?
Every course is different, and our faculty have been hard at work adapting their classes to best fit the Flex @ Pitt model. The remote start to the fall term will give your instructors the opportunity to explain what Flex @ Pitt means in the context of their specific classes prior to the start of in-person instruction.

I am a TA or UTA. Do I need to come to class in person?
TAs and UTAs have the ability to participate in their classes remotely or in person.

Where can I learn more about Flex @ Pitt?
Please access the University’s Coronavirus resources, including the Student Virtual Town Halls, Instructional Standards and Guidelines, and the materials curated by the University Center for Teaching and Learning.

In addition, SCI hosted a live question and answer session about Flex @ Pitt on August 6 that addresses many great questions from students, the recording of which is available online.

How will tests will be delivered? Will taking the course synchronously or asynchronously impact this?
How the tests will be delivered and what portions of the course are synchronous or asynchronous is up to the individual instructor, but please know that whatever venues the instructor chooses for tests and class time, they are obligated to ensure that students taking the class on campus, students taking the class remotely, and students mixing the two modes are all fully accommodated.

Will there be any space/rooms available for students to study or group discuss in the department building? Will Pitt Print stations open?
Information about buildings and spaces—including shared spaces like study areas—will be released by the University in the near future.

At times when the University posture and individual building plans allow you enter a University building relevant to you, study and printing on campus should be possible. Please be advised that there may be modifications and restrictions on movement and capacity that change over time throughout the course of the pandemic.

coronavirus.pitt.edu/return-to-campus will have the latest on updates to buildings and spaces as details become available.

Health and Wellness

Will offices on campus that can help me with my health remain open?
University Offices related to health and wellness are open. Please access the sites for these offices themselves for detailed information: Student Health ServiceDisability Resources and Services and the Counseling Center.

Resources

I am a student who is also a parent. Has Pitt provided any resources for me to connect with other parents in similar situations?
The University has put together an online group for Pitt faculty, staff and students who are parents. For more information on how Pitt is supporting these parents, please visit this page.

I am a new SCI student. How do I get my Pitt Photo ID?
You are able to upload a photo and the ID will be mailed to you. Here are details on this process: https://www.pc.pitt.edu/panther-card/photo-id

Finances

Where can I go to learn more about any financial aid or scholarships awarded to me and if and how these may change if my enrollment status changes due to COVID?
Any questions regarding federal, state or University-level aid or loans should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Any questions regarding aid provided by the school should be directed to your department (Keena Walker for CS, Michele Thomas for ISP, Debbie Day for ICDS, and Kelly Shaffer for DINS).

If an urgent need for limited emergency funding has arisen from these circumstances, please contact the SCI External Relations Team.

Prospective Students and Applicants

I am a prospective student. Can I still visit campus this semester? What about in the upcoming spring?
On-campus interview/campus/recruiting visits will be determined by the University’s posture, the class schedule and building access. We will continue to have real-time remote sessions but will add on-campus sessions as circumstances allow. For an up-to-date listing of any information sessions we offer (whether remote or on-campus), please visit this site. If you have any initial immediate questions, please email us at SCIadmit@pitt.edu. Thank you!

Is there specific guidance/information for prospective students and applicants?
Undergraduate applicants and prospective students should access this page for contact and virtual tour information.

Graduate applicants and prospective students should access this page for contact and virtual tour information.